Saturday, May 25, 2019

No one charged a year after Ronda VM’s murder

(SunStar file)

THE Cebu City Police Office has yet to press charges against persons involved in the murder of Ronda Vice Mayor Jonnah John Ungab, who was killed on Feb. 19 last year.

Investigator SPO1 Winston Ybañez said they’d already identified the suspects and prepared the charges against them.

“We’re just waiting for the decision of the Ungab family,” he said in Cebuano.

One of the suspects was hired gun Dante Betaganzo, who was killed in a police operation in Lapu-Lapu City three days after Ungab’s death.

The crime laboratory’s ballistic examination showed that the firearm recovered from Betaganzo matched the empty shells and slugs recovered at the murder scene.

Ybañez said seven other personalities were involved in the vice mayor’s death, but he refused to divulge their names.

Jonnah’s widow, Pearl, said she would file complaints if there was a clear follow-up investigation because she wanted the real culprits to be held responsible for her husband’s murder.

“I don’t want innocent men to go to jail because that will be another injustice,” she told Superbalita Cebu in Cebuano on Monday, Feb. 18.

Pearl, who has six children with Jonnah, was with him in their car when he was shot by riding-in-tandem assassins outside Qimonda Building.

Her husband had attended the promulgation of cases faced by his client, self-confessed Eastern Visayas drug lord Rolando “Kerwin” Espinosa Jr. inside the Cebu City Hall of Justice before the attack happened.

“Ug wala koy hustisya makuha diri sa kalibotan, nag-ampo ko nga naay hustisya akong bana sa langit (If I don’t get justice for my husband’s death here on earth, then I pray that he find justice in heaven),” Pearl said.

Ronda is coping with the loss of the town’s top two officials.

Last September, Jonnah’s uncle, Ronda Mayor Mariano Blanco III, was shot dead by five unidentified men while he was asleep inside his office on the second floor of the Ronda Municipal Hall. The town hall is beside the police station.

Not a single culprit was caught.

Jonnah was on his third and last term as vice mayor, while Blanco was also on his last term as mayor.

First Municipal Councilor Rocky Gabatan, who assumed the mayoralty post after Blanco’s death, admitted that he struggled with his new position.

“I’m still familiarizing myself with the administrative aspect of governance since I come from the legislature. The late mayor and the late vice mayor had it good since they were used to swapping places. But slowly I have been learning,” Gabatan said in Cebuano.

The third councilor, Harold James Llego, was appointed as vice mayor after Jay Ann Cañete, the second councilor, resigned.

Gabatan said he tried his best to ensure that basic services would not be affected following the deaths of Ungab and Blanco.

He said he finished implementing Blanco’s projects, including the concreting of roads, construction of a water system and the electrification program.

Blanco’s younger brother Terence is running for mayor in May, while his daughter Ann Marie Blanco-Yap is running for a seat in the Municipal Council under the banner of the Nationalist People’s Coalition.

Pearl is also running for a seat in the council as an independent candidate.

“Many of my husband’s supporters convinced me to run,” she said in Cebuano.

At 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, a mass will be held for Jonnah’s first death anniversary in the family’s private mausoleum in Ronda.

Jonnah, who was supposed to turn 45 last Jan. 4, had planned to construct a library in Ronda with the Cebu Diamond Lions Club.

This is the reason Pearl will hold a fun run on March 2 as part of her fund-raising campaign to fulfill her husband’s dream.

Ronda, a fifth-class municipality, is 81 kilometers from Cebu City.

The town has 15,758 registered voters.

SPO4 Roger Incipido, the deputy police chief, said local politicians had not reported any threats on their lives. (From SCG, AYB of SuperBalita Cebu, KAL)


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